Life as a single Mother-Empty nest, Dating, Ex-husband, Best Friends, Full-time Employment, Unemployment, night school...How do these all relate to one another? Come with me:

Friday, February 27, 2009

Steak dinner turns to smoke

Since my son is home for a whole month, and both of the girls had a rare, and simultaneous night off work, we decided to step out on the town for a nice meal together. The place we chose to eat is a short drive into the canyon near our house, which is absolutely beautiful this time of year.
We had a great meal, great conversation, and enjoyed our evening out. Other than that, the dinner was uneventful.
Until we walked into the house upon returning home. The dogs were in a frenzy, absolutely frantic, and the house was filled with smoke! Every thought imaginable ran through my head. Fear white hot fear! We hadn't lit a fire in the wood stove in weeks and no candles had been burned. We ran in, dropped everything (seriously, I dropped my purse on the floor spreading its contents all over the room) and ran to find the source of the smoke. We found that source- in the kitchen.
Let me give you just a bit of background on this before continuing. Because our dogs have yet to learn to stay out of the trash can when they are left alone, we usually empty it or at least put it up before leaving them home alone.
This particular evening, I was lazy and did not take the time to take out the bag. Our house does not have a broom closet, a pantry or any other convenient area with a door in which to place the trash can and the cupboard under our sink is just too short. So, one of the best (maybe not) places we have found to place it, is to set it on top of the stove. Even though the dogs leave it alone when it is placed there, if they did choose to climb against the stove to get it, the range hood keeps it upright that they can not tip it over.
Last night I quickly placed it on the stove top as we were walking out the door. Here is where the problem comes in. As I placed the can on top of the stove, and pressed it back against the stove back (in order of less chance of the dogs tipping it) unbeknown to me, this pressed it back against the olive oil dispenser which is kept on the stove. The olive oil bottle in turn, pressed against the stove knob and turned it on.
While we were out having a relaxing dinner, the burner under the trash can slowly heated the plastic. By the time we arrived home, there was a good sized hole in the bottom of the can.
A drink cup had burned and spread some liquid onto the heat. This was lucky because I usually empty all 'wet' trash into the sink. Maybe this is one time I should be thankful for teenagers who don't do what I expect.

Other than melted plastic, and a small pile of ash from the paper products, there was no damage done.

Someone must have been looking out for us. With all the struggles in this house as of late, we didn't need to add house fire to the list.
We were very lucky!

It is now cleaned up and as good as it was before the accident. This is the bottle that pressed against the knob.

It was still a hard night, as I have asthma and the house was well filled with carbon dioxide smoke and possible toxic fumes from the plastic. And as I sit here now, my throat, eyes and sinuses are awfully sore.

But it is such a small price to pay. We are safe, the house is safe, and I am grateful.
If there is one regret it would be the terrible feeling in the pit of my stomach today. The feelings of guilt that such a small, silly, stupid thing I am personally responsible for, could have put myself and my kids on the street! I will take the time, from now on, to ensure the trash is taken out. Every time!

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